This dish is one of my favorites from my Iraqi grandmother’s kitchen and is traditionally prepared on Friday for the coming Sabbath. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly over the years to suit my taste, but have mostly stayed true to the original recipe. While this recipe may seem daunting at first, it is easier than it looks and is worth the effort. —S. Mitrovich
long grain rice, preferably basmati
3 1/4 cups
salt and pepper, to taste
large onions, finely chopped
parsley, finely chopped
In This Recipe
Place rice in a medium size bowl. Fill with water and let the rice sit for at least half an hour. Drain and rinse the rice 2 or 3 times. Drain again completely and place the rice in a wide pot with the turmeric, salt and water. Cover and cook the rice on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the water has evaporated then lower the heat and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the rice is done. Take the pot off the heat and mix in the flour in 3 batches until it is incorporated with the rice. Let cool and sit for approximately 15 minutes.
Mix the beef with salt and pepper and spices and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and add chopped onions. Cook until golden brown, then add raisins and pine nuts and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the beef mixture and cook until meat is mostly cooked through. Remove from heat and add parsley. Let cool.
Set aside a bowl of water for rolling the rice into balls. Lightly wet the palm of your hands with water and roll the rice into 2” in diameter, wetting hands as needed. You should have about 15-18 rice balls in total. When all the rice has been rolled into balls, lightly wet palms again and with your thumbs press a rice ball into your cupped hand, forming the rice into a cup in your palm. Place a tablespoon of beef mixture in the middle and press the rice around it to close. Flatten the ball slightly into a patty shape. Repeat with remaining rice and beef mixture.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Carefully drop rice patties into the pan, making sure not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown then flip over and do the same for the other side of patty. Place on a paper towel covered plate to drain. Serve and enjoy!
Patties can be made a day ahead up until the point of frying.